You never mentioned the switches or stones, the unhung crucifijo
tearing into your back, your father running you out, no eres mi hijo.
Late-night, TV aglow, you never said the name of who hurt you.
Instead, my head cradled in your lap, you’d tell me, I love you mi’jo.
What bones we may break, may we break the bones of our pasts,
skeletons dragged over scarred lifetimes, en nombre del padre, el hijo...
the ghosts of our wounds, dark-winged words we’ve never shared,
are what keep us bound, rooted for generations, de tal palo tal astilla.
You’ve never been your father, just as I’ve won’t be you. Still, how
could I be a better angel, Papi, when I’ve never been a good son.
Ángel García, a proud son of Mexican immigrants, is the author of Teeth Never Sleep (University of Arkansas Press), winner of a CantoMundo Poetry Prize, winner of an American Book Award, and finalist for the PEN America Open Book Award and Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He currently lives in Champaign, IL.